Born in Modena in 1858, Vittorio Reggianini trained at the local art academy, alongside Gaetano Ballei and Eugenio Zampighi, under the watchful eye of his professor Antonio Simonazzi. Later promoted to professor of the same academy, he continued to participate in shows winning praise from local supporters. In 1885, he moved to Florence, and it was during this period, supported by a local dealer Pisani, that Reggianini established himself on the international scene. Both the artist's subject matter and style of painting dramatically shifted from the local historical realism that characterized his early work to the new continental taste for paintings which recreated the opulent lifestyles and the decor of the 18th Century.
The Piano Recital, a work which remained in Reggianini's personal collection, is striking for its delightful subject matter, sophisticated composition and masterful execution. The gracious reclining pose of the lady in pink, supported by the seated figure in light blue - most likely her sister or best friend - is mirrored in the 18th Century French pastoral painting in the background. At a first glance, they seem to be only paying attention to the performer. Yet, perhaps the fox fur is a symbol for disguised flirtation as it is an uncommon accessory for the music room of such an Italian palazzo. Foxes are often used as a symbol for disguise as well as shrewdness. In contrast to these two elegant ladies, the attentive male figure in the painting is mirrored by a far more composed suitor, whose pose suggests that he is yet to recognize and return the interest of the lady in pink.
The architecture of the interior, as well as most of the furniture such as the side stools on either side of the fireplace, the bench that the ladies are seated on, the piano forte and the music stand are all late 18th Century neo-classical Italian furniture complimented by the earlier roccoco piano stool from the 1720-30's.